MATCH REPORT: Sheffield confirm play-off place
Report by Rob Mawhood
Sheffield Stars confirmed their place in the North and Scotland league first place play offs after a double victory over visitors Hull. Hull were without new Northern senior champion Andy Angell and Dan Teal. Sheffield had a late withdrawal when Ed Morton was forced into covid isolation.
Hull got the Div One match of to a perfect start with Nathan Everett-Atkinson and Matt Eglen both making passes to gain a 6-4 race win. Sheffield responded with three successive 7-3 maximums to lead 25-15 after four races. Kielan Burton beat Nathan in heat 5, with Stars moving 12 ahead. This allowed Hull to claim inside grids, which they had for the rest of the 18 heats.
Sheffield though recorded a further five maximum 7-3 race wins, four featuring Dariusz Pilas. Dariusz returned to help Sheffield win the Northern Area KO Cup at Hull in July, his influence again rubbing off on the young stars. Dariusz finished unbeaten by an opponent, linking up well with Kielan, Laura Watson and Kyle Holland.
Kielan lost just once, to Nathan, his three races with Hull’s number one were the highlight of the match. The match was officially over by heat 12 with Stars leading by 70-50, and with an 18 point advantage from the first leg at the Hessle raceway. Hull’s one maximum race win came in heat 18, when Niall Morton came off after an audacious move to pass Nathan failed.
Final score was Sheffield 106 Hull 73.
Sheffield – Niall Morton 17+1, Laura Watson 15, Kielan Burton 23, Dariusz Pilas 16+4, Luke Morton 13, Kyle Holland 19+3, Sam Stansfield 2, Laythan Sharp 1.
Hull – Nathan Everett-Atkinson 19+2, Matt Eglen 15, Andy Knowles 4+1, Liam Bennett 9, David Cooper 7+1, Jack Lister 10, Barry Ashton 3, Noah Lyon 6
Referee – Rob Mawhood
Sheffield had a four point deficit to overcome for the Div Two match, which they had done by heat 4 following four successive heat advantages. Heat three saw a very nasty collision between Sam Stansfield and Andy Knowles as the riders crossed the finish line. Sam missed his next programmed ride but Andy had to withdraw from the match with his injuries, which included most of his abdomen covered in tyre marks (from the wider maxi Larssen tyres). Jack Lister and Matt Eglen reduced the Stars lead to six with a 7-3 in heat 5. Jack, Matt and David Cooper then won the next four races, but Stars still led by six by filling the minor places. Which included a stupendous last bend pass by ten year old Oliver Banyard over Noah Lyon, and an equally impressive pass by Laura on Liam Bennett.
Hull were missing Andy Knowles know how, with replacement Barry Ashton unable to go the pace of the young Sheffield starlets (no surprise when you hit your 70’s). Laura confirmed Sheffield would win on aggregate with victory over David in heat 14. Jack beating Kielan in the final race, in another hotly contested heat (raced at full out pace).
Final score Sheffield 78 to Hull 67, aggregate score Sheffield 151 to Hull 144.
Sheffield – Kielan Burton 18, Oliver Banyard 8+1, Sam Stansfield 7+2, Laura Watson 15+2, Laythan Sharp 11+1, Luke Morton 14+2, Lacey Ackroyd 4.
Hull – Jack Lister 18+1, Noah Lyon 4, Matt Eglen 14, Liam Bennett 9+1, Andy Knowles 3, David Cooper 15, Barry Ashton 4.
Referee – Kyle Holland